How to Increase Your Funding and Determine What Your Reviewer Wants

How? With the Grant Foundry Summer Workshop

When? June 1st, 2022 - July 22nd, 2022 

Where? Fully online featuring a membership site and weekly interactive calls

Want immediate help writing better grants?
Download the free report "Backdoor to Funding" and get started today!

You could be making field-advancing discoveries, but you're stuck on the grant rejection treadmill.

If you're ready to spend less time writing proposals, and more time on the science you love, then read on...

Like most researchers, you probably got into this career to have an impact and to make new discoveries. I know that I did. When I started out, I was excited about the potential for new scientific breakthroughs - and getting recognized for my efforts. But instead of having the time to focus on making new discoveries, I found myself sucked into the never-ending management of a lab and team – and trying to get the funding to keep it going.

Now, I knew lab management would take time, but I had no idea just how draining this stuff would be. And when it came to the pressure of getting funding, it was even worse.  

If you’re like I was, you can relate to the ensuing loop of nearly endless grant proposal submissions, with most - if not all - resulting in rejection... The late nights and long hours spent on writing proposals, knowing that the likelihood of rejection is much greater than the likelihood of getting a nod for funding...

It can become an all consuming beast, the search for funding, just to keep a research program going.

Keep reading...

For some, success at this high-stakes game also is essential to career progress required for tenure, promotion, or lab space. That was true in my case. I was told in no uncertain terms that without multiple R01 funding, my tenure promotion would not happen.

Worse, the reviewer feedback I was getting seemed pointedly critical, and very often unhelpful. You may have experienced revising a proposal for resubmission following the reviewer feedback, only to find the resubmission scored similarly to the original – or worse. 

I had that happen. It was demoralizing. It felt like the reviewers – and perhaps the whole system –were out to get me.

Why does it have to be stressful and draining to get the funding we need, when all we want to do is move discovery and research forward?

For most of us, it wasn't always like this, this wasn't the way it started...

Most of us start out with enthusiasm in our research career, ready to make progress and stake a claim for ourselves. We’re eager to roll up our sleeves and prove to the world that with a great work ethic, we can make important things happen. 

At first, the enthusiasm is usually enough to keep us motivated and inspired. We continue to submit proposals, even when it can seem like a lottery... 

Some of us may get a “lucky break” early on, with an initial hit of funding that makes it seem like we’re on the right track, only to discover later that the result is not replicable.

You are soon working harder than ever, cranking out proposal after proposal in an attempt to secure the funding you need to sustain your science, your team, and your sanity.

This hard, often demoralizing work is all "part of the gig" according to other researchers and mentors. You may discover that your great work ethic has met its match in the game of trying to get funding…

You may think about how you can alleviate some of the daily stress and overwhelm, by: 

  • hiring a manager to take over your responsibilities and involvement in the daily tasks of your lab
  • recruiting additional staff to keep the momentum of your project
  • upgrading or adding new equipment to the lab to increase efficiency 

But all of these depend on the same thing: funding. And without funding, you’re stuck.

It seems like a trap. The good news is that this trap has an escape lever - but to understand what that is, we have to define the problem.

The problem with getting grant funding is actually an unfortunate symbiosis of several problems:

  • The skills vs. knowledge problem: For most of us, a research career is about wielding knowledge as our greatest asset. We like to approach things, armed with knowledge. However, writing a great proposal is much more about skill than knowledge. Skills take a great deal of time and practice to develop, and few of us have the opportunity to practice that enough before we’re thrown head-first into the pool and told to “swim” (i.e. to write grants and get them funded). So, most of us develop bad grant-writing habits because we don’t know any better–and we have to write proposals to survive. This is far from the ideal way to develop a deep skill like writing great grant proposals.
  • The mentoring problem: Mentoring for grant writing is extremely limited. Most of those who are repeatedly successful at it don’t have the time to mentor others. For those who do, being successful at a skill does not mean they’re a good teacher of the skill. Some of us participate in peer review groups, which can be helpful, but are a far cry from a concerted mentoring and training plan to develop a nuanced skill like this one.
  • The long feedback loop: When developing a skill like riding a bike, or playing a guitar, there is usually immediate, and sometimes painful, feedback if you are off track. Ouch! A scraped knee tells you right away to do something different with your bike. However, with grant writing, there is no immediate feedback. It can be 3-6 months before getting feedback, and when you do, it’s often obtuse. It’s not meant to make you a better grant writer, it’s meant to simply tell you why you were or were not funded. This makes it extremely difficult to develop the skill through trial-and-error grant submissions.

These problems add up to many of us thinking the grant game is like a lottery – one that’s rigged towards just those who are well connected or have the right pedigree.

Well, we can't change the system, but what we can do is develop the skills to play a better game within the system that already exists.

Developing skills so that you increase your odds of funding can make all the difference between having the time and money to move your research forward, versus a discouraging struggle with rejection after rejection.

Developing these skills requires longer-term practice and feedback.

While short 1-3 day workshops can provide you with a lot of information and knowledge, they cannot help you develop the skill of writing better proposals through practice and feedback. Knowledge of what to write and how to write it is helpful, but only insofar as you’re able to put it into practice. Without the time, iteration, and feedback that can occur over a longer-term, the knowledge is difficult to put correctly into practice.

That is exactly what I developed the Grant Foundry to do for you. It is designed to give both the knowledge of how to write much better proposals, and the practice and feedback over time to turn it into a repeatable skill that you can use for the rest of your career.

In the 8 weeks of Grant Foundry, I’ll show you how I went from multiple consecutive rejections early in my faculty career (including a triage!) to securing funding from four RO1s in a row without rejection or revision.

My transformation from struggles and rejections to getting regular funding gave me far more free time to focus on my research and manuscripts. It gave me recognition amongst my peers. It gave me the option to move to a different University. It helped me secure tenure via a unanimously positive vote of my department’s faculty. 

I don’t say these things to brag, I want you to know that these things are possible – even after multiple rejections and failed attempts and funding. It is never too late to start.

More than giving you knowledge of what I changed to make these things happen, in the Grant Foundry, my team and I will show you how to put concepts into application in your own proposals. The skills you develop can be used use over and over again to write more compelling proposals.

All you need is a new perspective, framework, and the time to develop these items into skills that will empower you in your grant writing to make it much more easy, clear, and enjoyable.

Together in Grant Foundry, we will implement concepts and tools from the Foundations of Funding:

   1. Finding Deeper Clarity on your Problem/Solution Premise

Using our unique tools and approaches, we help you develop a stronger set of premises that will clarify your work to both yourself and your reviewers. 

Many writers do not go deep enough into this step to form a solid foundation for the subsequent writing work, and a lack of clarity at this step can waste a lot of time in needless iteration, or worse, rejection. 

   2. Working on the "Meta" Level of Grant Writing

Effective grant writing requires a precise blend of confidence (without overconfidence), clarity (without being overly simplistic), and innovation (without being too far ahead for the field). 

Finding the necessary balance between these is often interfered with by mindset issues ranging from "imposter syndrome," to procrastination, to working too hard for effective clarity, and more. We introduce you to several core concepts of how to have an improved grant writing mindset - one that produces better results and gives your poor nervous system a break from all the stress. 

   3. Getting Reviewers Onboard and Excited

Learn how to write your research in a clear and concise way that is more likely to produce the positive reviewer response you desire, and less likely to trigger responses leading to rejection. Most researchers write a proposal as a series of facts about what was done and what will be done. This produces boredom and frustration. Instead, it’s important to construct a compelling story around those facts – one that gets and keeps your reviewer’s attention. Doing this is not about just learning how to "write well" from a traditional English class perspective. In fact, many standard writing classes teach the opposite of what is most important to do here, so sometimes "unlearning" bad habits is as important as learning new ones. We will teach you our proprietary frameworks including the Grant Story Funnel to help you do this in a methodological, repeatable way.

Through learning and implementing these concepts, you will:

  • Discover deeper clarity in your research as you learn to communicate about your project
  • Find more ease with your writing process 
  • Learn how to structure your grant in a way that is more likely to capture the interest of your reviewer
  • Save the mental energy you’ve been wasting on worry, procrastination, and rejection 
  • Take control of the grant “lottery” by submitting a quality proposal that you and your reviewer and community are excited about
  • Start building your momentum toward more career sustainability and freedom

Developing a new skill like this is hard work, but the investment pays off. If you do your part (doing the assignments and practicing), you’ll finish your 8 weeks in Grant Foundry feeling more clear and confident as you implement, iterate, and refine your proposal. Most importantly, you’ll have developed the positive momentum you need to secure funding and get back to focusing on what you do best: great science. 

If building your funding and career momentum sounds like something you’re ready for, I’d like to invite you to join us in the Grant Foundry this summer, starting June 1st . 


See you in the course, 

Morgan Giddings, PhD 

Creator of Grant Foundry

- GRANT FOUNDRY: A SYSTEM DESIGNED FOR GRANT MASTERY AND CAREER SUSTAINABILITY - 

Here's what our clients have to say about us:

Lisann Gittner - PhD

"...it is totally true that my last RO1 was the easiest grant I have ever written and it was fun. Clarity changed the grant from work to flow. It took me 3 months to lock in the specific aims but then the grant kind of just flowed out of me so easily. I actually enjoyed it!" 

M. Lambros - PhD

"...after our discussion yesterday, I felt more optimistic about my proposal. In fact, your lessons and the help systems you've established... inspire, energize, and make me feel like I am not alone in this academic effort. I appreciate your work!" 

Ane Laugen - PhD

"Morgan Giddings' online grant writing courses have totally changed my views on grant writing; I now enjoy the process, and I am able to help my lab members improve their grants."

- THE GRANT FOUNDRY MAKES WRITING SUCCESSFUL PROPOSALS EASY - 

The Grant Foundry Summer 2022 Workshop

When you enroll in the Grant Foundry Summer Program, here's what you'll get...

Modular Video Lessons - Digestible chunks of content walk you through key foundations to help you master the deeper framework of writing successful proposals
Homework Submission - Submit your work and exercises at specific checkpoints throughout the program to get feedback from our coaches on your application of new concepts and how you can improve
Weekly Calls & Discussion - Join our coaches and the rest of the cohort on live calls each week to review the lesson content and exercises - you'll also have the opportunity to ask questions and get feedback 
Specific Aims Review with Morgan - Get specific feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of your aims page (or summary statement, etc.) and game plan with Morgan on how to continue your writing momentum 
Members-Only Online Community Access - Share ideas, give and receive peer feedback, get support, and network with fellow group members 24/7 in our exclusive, online community
[Optional] Add-On Coaching - For those wanting a more intensive experience, you can take advantage of our add-on coaching package which will provide you with more specific feedback and collaboration on your individual proposal from our expert coaching team

Get Even More Out Of Your Workshop with These Bonuses:

Grant Dynamo 2

Get full access to Grant Dynamo 2: a self-guided, 7-module, online course built from a culmination of 14 years of experience developing, applying, and testing the very best strategies and approaches to grants on the planet

Think Creative, Be Productive

This bonus course takes you beyond productivity and teaches you how to direct your time and energy towards the important things, like moving your career forward without sacrificing your personal and family life

Example Library

You'll get access to a successfully funded NSF summary statement and an NIH specific aims example, both hypothesis-driven, as well as an objective-driven specific aims example to represent the Social Sciences fields

- TAKE A PEAK INSIDE -

The Grant Foundry Toolbox

Iterative Convergence

Implement a specific iterative process in your thinking and writing, rather than a haphazard one, in order to converge towards a clearly articulated idea

Grant Story Funnel

Follow a step-by-step system to help you write a more compelling and persuasive proposal without the guess work

Positive Emotional Control

Learn to produce trust and desire in your reviewers - rather than confusion, frustration, and doubt - in order to create an advocate for your proposal

Pivot Point 

Define the core of your proposal so you can build a cohesive and compelling story around your proposal's most critical point

Problem Premise

Give your solution significance by defining the problem that is important to your readers, creating interest and desire

Solution Premise

Justify why your solution is the best answer to the problem you've defined so that you can create trust in your approach

Triangle of Trust

Anchor your objective or hypothesis with preliminary data to show (not just tell) that you're capable of carrying out the work you propose

Frame Meshing

Identify a single grant story entry point by considering both your perspective and the perspective of the community, so that your reviewers are excited to read more

Problem-Solution Path

The problem-solution pathway will help you create a specific, custom template for you to follow as you build your grant story

You'll get access to all these and more when you enroll in the Grant Foundry Summer 2022 Workshop

- LET'S BUILD YOUR GRANT WRITING MOMENTUM -

Course Breakdown

Module 0

Iterating Towards Increased Resolution. Before we get started, we need to set the stage so that you know what to strive for, how to get your reviewers on board, and how to fit it all into one story. That's what Module 0 is all about. Here we will: 

• Begin the iterative process so that you can refine your ideas into a single, cohesive, and focused piece over the duration of this course

• Introduce the Grant Story Funnel, so that you have a template to reference as you build your story 

• Dive into the topic of Positive Emotional Control so that you can learn how to create trust and desire in your reviewers

• Look at examples of great proposals so that you can ultimately translate these elements into your own work

Module 1

Identifying Your Pivot Point. You might have a general idea of what you’re planning to do in your proposal - but do you have enough clarity to build an entire proposal around this idea? In our experience, probably not. That’s why our focus this week will be on identifying your Pivot Point, so that you can have a clear focus before you get too far down into writing out the details.

Once you define your Pivot Point, we’ll use this to clarify your objective or hypothesis. By the end of this week, we’ll have built the very core of your proposal. 

Module 2

Defining Your Problem & Solution Premise. This week, it’s time for you to consider:

• What problem makes your solution important?: Your work is obviously important to YOU, but you have to address this question so that you can convey why your work should be important for your reader

• Why is your solution the correct answer to the problem you define?: It’s clear that YOU think you’ve got the right answer, but you’ll need to justify why your solution is the right one to get others on board

As we work on the Problem & Solution Premise exercises this week, you’ll clarify these ideas in your own mind and your writing, as you also begin to weave trust and desire into your grant story.

Module 3

Developing Your Aims Objectives. This week, our focus will be on building out the specifics. For each aim, it’ll be important to examine: 

• The “Why” of each aim

• The “How” of each aim

• The independence of your aims

• If your aims support the objective or hypothesis

We address these different elements so that you can make sure your specific aims connect to the rest of the story that you’re building. Without that connection back to the core of your proposal, your specific aims will only serve to confuse or frustrate your reviewers.

Module 4

Elucidating an Entry Point. This is where we begin to carefully evaluate the conversations that are happening in your reviewer community and how you can use the Frame Mesh tool to meet your community where they’re at with your message.

This step is key - but so often forgotten. Without a Frame Mesh, you can wind up too far into the novelty side of things, and your reviewers will be skeptical to join you. If you play it too safe and only talk about what’s already been done before, your reviewers will be bored.

We’ll use the Problem-Solution Path exercise so that you can find the right point of entry, and so that you can continue to develop an outline for the rest of your grant story as well.

Module 5

Enunciating the Paradigm. Once you’ve determined the entry point of your story, we move towards communicating the nuances of your paradigm. What do we mean by that? Your paradigm is essentially “the status” of your field: what work has been done before, what’s missing from this work, what your preliminary exploration has been, and then what work still needs to be done. 

As you begin to enunciate your paradigm, you will start to pull your reader towards your solution - as opposed to pushing them towards the conclusion you’re trying to sell, which can create resistance.

Module 6

Making an Entrance - And Going Out with a Bang. The first sentence or two that your reviewer reads can make or break your proposal.

This week, we’ll address the Hook: what a great one looks like and how to build yours so that you can develop an attention-grabbing start.

Just as the start of your proposal is critical, you also want to make sure you’ll be remembered when your reviewer is done reading. Therefore, we’ll identify the Impact statement you will use at the end: the key elements to include in this section, and the importance of ending with the Impact so that you can go out “with a bang.”

Module 7

Integrating Your Grant Story Funnel. As we’ve been working on different parts of your aims pages and proposals, it’s important to now go back and address your work as a whole, single piece. 

Our focus this week will be on Iterative Convergence, so that you can put all of your work together and develop a smooth flow between all of your individual components through iteration.

Module 8

Closing & Celebration Week. Congratulations! You’ve made it!

Meet with Morgan for a final course review of your Specific Aims page and create a game plan for continuing your writing momentum. 

End the week with acknowledging and celebrating your progress thus far. Join us and the rest of the cohort so that you can reflect on your journey, on your wins and challenges along the way, and on what your next steps will be.

The Grant Foundry Difference

The unique 8-week structure of the Grant Foundry program allows us to space out introduction of new key concepts and strategies with time to absorb and implement as you gain experience - we won't dump a lot of info on you and expect you to make sense of it right away.

Live coaching calls on theory and homework exercises help you solidify theory with practical applications.

Implement concepts as you go and get feedback from both our coaching team and program peers on how you are doing so you aren't working in a vacuum. 

Reduce funding stress right away with a process that makes writing more enjoyable and builds confidence as you learn the framework of persuasive grant writing.

- MEET YOUR MENTORS -

Dr. Morgan Giddings collaboratively brought in over $23M in grant funding during her tenure as an Associate Professor at UNC Chapel Hill, where she built her lab to over 16 people and secured $1M/year in funding. 

After watching colleagues and other researchers experience the same struggle to secure sustainable funding, she created a business training faculty on successful and consistent grant writing. 

Now she fights the curmudgeons of academia with a commitment to re-inspire researchers, helping them find fulfillment and ease in their careers through grant writing mastery courses, career management mentorships, and communities of researchers ready to challenge the status quo.

Dr. Morgan Giddings

PhD, Founder

Meredith Betterton is a physics research professor at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her current projects focus on the physics of cell division and related biophysics. 

Throughout her career Meredith has secured ongoing NIH funding (RO1 and K25), the NSF CAREER Award, and multiple fellowship and faculty development awards. 

As a Grant Foundry coach, she helps clients gain clarity over their scientific premise by crafting persuasive messaging tailored to the needs and desires of respective research communities. 

She offers insight into information organization and relevancy, helping clients communicate the specifics of their projects without convoluting their overall messaging. 

Merideth Betterton

PhD

Aubrey Phares is the Programs and Coaching Manager here at SCI•Foundry, where she works directly with clients, coaches, and our internal team to organize, schedule, and facilitate ongoing courses and mentorship programs. 

Aubrey has a research background and formal training as a writing coach, as well as a BS in both Psychology and Cognitive & Behavioral Neuroscience from Virginia Tech. 

As a writing coach in the Grant Foundry, Aubrey offers insight into the fundamentals of grant structure and organization, helps clients create compelling grant "stories," and assists clients with concept implementation. 

Aubrey's skillful copy-editing eye and attention to detail supports clients throughout the iterative process.

Aubrey Phares

SCI•Foundry

- YOU'RE BACKED BY OUR -

Risk-Free Withdrawal and Deferment Policy

We get it. Plans change. And due to these changing plans and circumstances, your participation in Grant Foundry may need to be re-evaluated.

You can withdraw your enrollment and participation from this course up until 2 weeks prior to your program start date for a full tuition refund, minus a 10% processing fee. We also offer the option of deferring your participation to the next round of Grant Foundry should your plans change. After the cutoff date, we do not offer tuition refunds or deferrals.

Grow Your Momentum

The Grant Foundry -
Workshop

Only 3 spots remaining!

$2100 Tuition

Ongoing access to the 8 module Grant Foundry online program

Exercise and homework feedback  

8 weeks of live, interactive calls with our Grant Foundry expert coaches

Access to a members-only online community to share ideas, give and get feedback with peer review, get support, and connect with fellow members

The entire Grant Foundry toolbox, including the Example Library in the course  

Bonus access to the Grant Dynamo 2 and Think Creative, Be Productive courses

Specific Aims review call with Morgan 

Additional feedback each week through small group calls, 1:1 meetings, and offline video feedback

Dedicated individual support from our Grant Foundry coaches throughout the program

The Grant Foundry -
Workshop + Add-On Coaching

Only 1 spot remaining!

$4300 Tuition

Ongoing access to the 8 module Grant Foundry online program

Exercise and homework feedback  

8 weeks of live, interactive calls with our Grant Foundry expert coaches

Access to a members-only online community to share ideas, give and get feedback with peer review, get support, and connect with fellow members

The entire Grant Foundry toolbox, including the Example Library in the course  

Bonus access to the Grant Dynamo 2 and Think Creative, Be Productive courses

Specific Aims review call with Morgan 

Additional feedback each week through small group calls, 1:1 meetings, and offline video feedback

Dedicated individual support from our Grant Foundry coaches throughout the program

Your Questions Answered

Contact us using the form on the lower right of your screen, email us at [email protected], or call (208) 514 - 1639 and our friendly support staff will get back to you in 1 business day or less. 

Who should join?

To be a good fit for the Grant Foundry, you are probably:

• A highly-motivated researcher who is actively seeking a framework to increase proposal efficacy and funding chances

• A researcher who is ready to grow their project, but is experiencing funding stress and anxiety

• Open to seeking the support of experienced mentors to elevate your grant writing process and deepen your understanding of persuasive writing 

• Willing to be coached through feedback and suggestions with a desire to improve your writing skills and shift your perspective of what it takes to write a compelling proposal 

• Committed to investing the time it takes to develop the skills of grant writing

Is there a payment plan available?

Yes, we offer a 3-month payment plan. You'll be able to select this option at checkout. 

How much time will this take?

The weekly course content will be about one hour/week and the interactive group calls run about 90 minutes. However, to be realistic, understand that in order to get the most out of this workshop (or any workshop) you need to spend time applying these principles to your live grant proposals. That is likely to be a substantial investment of time, but that is unlikely to be more time than you already spend writing and submitting proposals via trial-and-error.

Can I pay with a purchase order or University funds?

We do accept university purchasing cards and purchase orders. To reserve your space in the course, click on the "DEPOSIT for POs" link on the checkout page. There, you can place a refundable deposit to register for the course, and then work with us to complete your university payment.

Is there a withdrawal period?

You can withdraw your enrollment and participation from this course up until 2 weeks prior to the start date for a full tuition refund, minus a 10% processing fee. We also offer the option of deferring your participation to the next round of Grant Foundry should your plans change. After the cutoff date, we do not offer tuition refunds or deferrals. 

What makes Grant Foundry different from other workshops?

Most of us are not unfamiliar with getting some sort of help with grant writing, and the structure of Grant Foundry allows us to address the "missing pieces" of other workshops. 

We don't use generic blueprints for proposal writing, but we do give you an entire toolbox to that enables you to draft your own unique blueprint - specific to your field, your audience, and your research. 

The longer duration of the Grant Foundry allows time for deeper integration of concepts and ideas coupled with iterative practice and feedback to help your grant writing progress move at a steady pace, without feeling overwhelmed by the task of implementing all at once. 

We understand that persuasive writing is considerably different from academic writing and some concepts can feel foreign or confusing, especially when they are being unloaded on you all at once. We break down complex theory into short, digestible bits spaced out and reinforced with practice exercises, iterations, and coach feedback. 

Is this going to work for me?

Investing in a grant writing course can bring up skeptical speculation: Is this going to work for me?

I've already tried grant writing workshops

Do I really have the time for this? I need funding fast! 

We are confident that once you invest in gaining momentum towards grant writing mastery, you will find much more enjoyment in your writing process. While we can't guarantee funding, we can guarantee that your commitment will pay-off in ease, clarity, and a deeper understanding of how to write a grant proposal that gets your reviewer's attention. 

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